Artists frequently discover something about themselves during the process of creation, and Boston-based musician Alisa Amador
is no exception. In her case, the songwriting process allows her to investigate her thoughts and feelings until she discovers what the song will be about. With Narratives
, she opens up and allows listeners to come into her inner world and experience her joy, vulnerability and strength.
Amador was born into a musical family, and pursuing music was never really a choice. Her parents have been performing since the 1980s as Sol Y Canto, bringing together the rhythm and styles of various Latin American countries, such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. Along with this exposure, Alisa studied jazz and funk guitar. As a result, as Armador says, "whatever happens when you put that all together is what my music is." Narratives
is a soulful, genre-blending combination that includes hints of jazz, folk, Latin and classic soul. Amador plays guitar and sings on the album, and she is joined by Noah Harrington on bass, Jacob Thompson on drums, Andrew Bedard on saxophone, Bastien Rieser on trumpet and Jamie Oshima on keys.
From the first listening of Narratives
, listeners might draw comparisons between Amador and Norah Jones
. Although certain similarities are present, Amador is far from being the new Norah on the block. She is a unique and imaginative artist whose music connects with listeners on an emotional level.
The song "Slow Down" features Amador's soulful voice backed by electric piano and drums. Amador describes the song's composition as "the frustrating yet exciting realization that you've found love, but the timing is off." This disconnect is accentuated by the music, where the piano's rhythm plays against the vocal rhythm. The two parts are harmonically balanced, but there is also a slight tension at work that parallels the song's message.
"Burnt and Broken" highlights Amador's talent as a guitarist. Her impressive acoustic fingerpicking technique gives the impression that she's spent time listening to players like Stephen Stills
or Jorma Kaukonen
. She is joined here by singers, Hayley Sabella and Kaiti Jones providing harmony. This powerful song addresses problems caused by "systems of oppression" along with problems caused by lack of understanding.
Amador also shows how disappointment from others isn't the end of the world. With "Alone," she encourages listeners to discover the power of their own self worth. As she describes it, this "is a three-and-a-half-minute dissertation on committing to self-love with abandon."
This sense of getting closer to yourself also comes across in "Nada Que Ver." This is a song that examines the confusion of being in love and opening up to someone new. She sings the song in Spanish because it is "the language closest to my heart, and the language of my most vulnerable writing." The music here again helps convey the message. She creates some slight tension by adding a minor second at the end of each verse which seems at odds, "illustrating the tension of wanting to be open but too jaded to trust."
Amador is an excellent musician and a talented lyricist. With Narratives
, she hopes to make connections with listeners by allowing them into her world in order to examine their own world. Perhaps Amador describes it best: "If human connection is a prism, this album is lifting it up to the light, and looking at it from many angles."